Ethics in Public Service Interpreting: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ethics in Public Service Interpreting

1st Edition

By Mary Phelan, Mette Rudvin, Hanne Skaaden, Patrick Kermit


240 pages | 17 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138886155
pub: 2019-09-27
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138886148
pub: 2019-09-27
Available for pre-order

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This is the first book to focus solely on ethics in public service interpreting. Four leading researchers from across Europe share their expertise on ethics, the theory behind ethics, types of ethics, codes of ethics, and what it means to be a public service interpreter.

This volume is highly innovative in that it provides the reader with not just a theoretical basis to explain why underlying ethical dilemmas are so common in the field, but it also offers guidelines that are explained and discussed at length and illustrated with examples. Divided into three parts, this ground-breaking text offers a comprehensive discussion of issues surrounding Public Service Interpreting. The first part centres on ethical theories, the second compares and contrasts codes of ethics and includes real life examples related to ethics, and part three discusses the link between ethics, professional development and trust.

The book serves as both an explanatory and informative core text for students and as a guide or reference book for interpreter trainees as well as for professional interpreters.

Table of Contents


Part I: Situating Interpreting Ethics in Moral Philosophy

1.1 Introduction: Sector-specific interpreting. Interpreter agency and ethical challenges

1.2 Contextualising PSI ethics: history, philosophy and professional practice

1.3 Ethics in Philosophy

1.4 Loyalty, Honesty and Truth-Telling. The foundation of the accuracy ethic?

1.5 The Philosophy of Ethics: a brief look at the development of some central tenets

1.6 The Ethics of translation – ethics in Translation Studies

1.7 Summing Up: The PSI–Moral Philosophy ethical interface

Concluding remarks: The existential anguish of choice and decision-making


Part II: Codes of Ethics

2.1 Historical Examples of Interpreter Ethics

2.2 Regulation of Professions

2.3 Association codes of ethics

2.4 Advocacy

2.5 Company codes of ethics for interpreters

2.6 The Norwegian example

2.7 Intercultural Mediators

2.8 Conclusion

2.9 Ethics in Real Life Cases



Part III: Ethics and Profession

3.1 Why do we need professional ethics?

3.2 What is a profession?

3.3 How extensive a domain for the interpreter’s exercise of discretion?

3.4 Interpreting as interaction

3.5 Ethics, trust and the organisational aspect of professions

Conclusion: Ethics, education and professional integrity



About the Authors

Mary Phelan lectures in translation and public service interpreting at Dublin City University and is the chairperson of the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association. Her research relates to the historical provision of court interpreters in Ireland, current interpreter provision in various settings, and associated legislation.

Mette Rudvin studied in Norway and Britain and holds a PhD in Translation Studies. She has been teaching English and Translation/Interpreting related subjects at the University of Bologna since 1995. Areas of publication include PSI, translation/interpreting theory, legal interpreting, PSI-philosophy, children’s literature, ELF, intercultural studies, game-theory, oral narrative and Pakistan-studies. She interprets and translates between Italian, English, Norwegian and Urdu.

Hanne Skaaden teaches interpreting at Oslo Metropolitan University. Her research covers first language attrition and the bilingual migrant, remote interpreting and the process of professionalization in PSI. She has extensive experience with interpreting in the Norwegian public sector.

Patrick Stefan Kermit has a background in philosophy and theoretical ethics, and has worked in interpreter education for many years. He is particularly interested in the interpreters’ professional ethics both on an individual and on a structural level. His research encompasses several projects looking into interpreting in the context of the criminal justice system in Norway.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General